Having a girlfriend doesn’t make me a challenge for the night

By Imogen Kaufman

Many girls I know have had nights out where entitled guys have tried it on. I know it’s usually a staple part of any of my nights out. For the last ten months I’ve been in a happy relationship with another girl. By no means did I expect this to reduce inappropriate male behaviour directed towards me, but something I never expected was that being in a relationship with another girl meant we would get more attention. Surely kissing another a girl in a club makes it clear you’re not available to guys out there? Apparently not. 

I’ve heard rumours that some girls just kiss to attract male attention. I’ve never met a girl who does this. It feels more like a male generated fantasy than a reality. If two girls are kissing in a club, chances are they like each other, like kissing each other, and probably aren’t the best bet for guys out on the pull. So why does it attract them? And more importantly, why doesn’t it put guys off from trying? 

Bringing the issue to light, two guys promptly approached us in a Durham nightclub after seeing us kissing. We tried to wave them away and told them we were together. But one of the guys put his arm around my waist and wouldn’t let go. He was whispering inappropriate things in my ear for about ten minutes and would not move away, or move his hand away from my waist, no matter how many times I stressed to him that I was there with my girlfriend. I’m sure there was dozens of single girls in that club that night but apparently the phrase ‘girlfriend’ isn’t enough to get the message across that we were unavailable to them. 

Of course, guys will hit on me or my girlfriend and not know we’re together. Often when you tell them ‘I’m here with my girlfriend’ they’re very apologetic and polite. But sometimes their reaction is a little over the top. They’ll hug you and put their arms around you and tell you how much they love gays, how happy they are for you. There’s a fine line between them being sweet and you feeling a bit like an animal in a zoo. 

After that happened one of the guy’s friends later approached in the club (in a different room and floor of the club). He wouldn’t stop badgering us, asking: ‘are you guys lesbians?’ ‘Are you really?’ ‘Are you really gay though?’ To the point where it would have been verging on aggressive if we were on a street in broad day light. But it was a nightclub, so me and my girlfriend just laughed it off and told him ‘yep, we’re gay’ and sent him on his way. What I don’t understand is why men think this behaviour is necessary, and not only that, but appropriate? 

Some girls will pretend to be in a relationship to get a guy to go away, but either way, it proves they’re not interested. This sort of male behaviour still echoes the idea of Sapphic woman just being a ‘challenge’. Which obviously isn’t true, they’re just simply not interested. A shock to some men it seems. 

On previous nights out we’ve had men not believe we’re in a relationship. To the point where they ask us to ‘prove it’ (ew, no) and then to the extreme where men will follow us around. Now, men will often follow uninterested women around in clubs- unfortunately that’s nothing new. But following two women around who are in a relationship together? It’s a new level of delusion, it has the same roots in the strange ideal that sometimes persistence can lead to success. It doesn’t. 

Of course, my experiences as a girl in a same sex relationship in a nightclub are all part of a far bigger issue in nightclub culture which seems to normalise and encourage creepy male behaviour. And the fact that it’s a same sex relationship does make a difference in how men react. 

I’ve had guy friends pretend to be my boyfriend before to get guys to leave me alone. It always works- the creepy guy always leaves as soon as my male friend(s) appear by my side. But if it was my girlfriend it would make no difference, proving men only respond to other males as a threat.

Me and my girlfriend will kiss to try and get guys to leave us alone and usually it will work. But sometimes they still stick around. My partner has had to yell ‘I’m gay!’ in a guy’s face to get him to leave her be in the past. 

It simply shocks me how far male entitlement will go. Being in a nightclub with my girlfriend isn’t enough to put men off- which is not only worrying but also sad on a man’s behalf. Why are you going after a girl on a night out which she’s clearly enjoying it with her girlfriend? 

She’s not a challenge. She’s not a spectacle. Respect the legitimacy of her relationship. It’s not a big ask.

 

Photograph by Kurious via Creative Commons

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